Harvesting hay in highway roadsides begins July 15
AMES — Iowa’s roadsides provide many benefits, including the harvesting of hay.
Each year, landowners and others can apply for a permit to harvest hay from highway roadsides.
Safety is the main reason the Iowa Department of Transportation requires permits to access or perform any type of work in the state highway roadsides. To enhance safety, everyone working along a state highway is required to wear a fluorescent green safety vest and provide traffic control in certain instances.
Although landowners and others can obtain permits any time, mowing or haying roadsides is not allowed until July 15. This allows for the protection of bird habitat during the nesting season.
The Iowa DOT has set two periods for harvesting grass within the state-maintained highway roadsides. Only one cutting per year is allowed so grasses can recover before winter.
• July 15 through Sept. 1: For cool-season grasses and forage legumes, such as smooth brome, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, alfalfa, bird’s-foot trefoil.
• July 15 through Aug. 15: For areas containing warm-season native grasses, such as switchgrass, big bluestem, little bluestem, Indian grass, sideoats grama, Canada wildrye.
Iowa DOT Form 810050 – Harvesting and Mowing Permit Application – is available online at https://forms.iowadot.gov/FormsMgt/External/810050.pdf. The application covers three types of operations: mowing only; harvesting hay; or harvesting plant material other than hay.
To process an application, contact Brenda Hadley serving the District 5 area in Fairfield at 866-291-9121 or email@example.com between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.